Environmental Assessment for Proposed Amendment 14 to the Fishery Management Plan for the King and Tanner Crab Fisheries in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands: A Rebuilding Plan for the Bering Sea Snow Crab (C. opilio) Stock
Analysis of a rebuilding plan for the Bering Sea snow crab C. opilio stock.
The 1999 NOAA Fisheries Bering Sea survey indicated that the snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) stock was below the minimum stock size threshold (MSST) established for this stock. Abundance of snow crab had declined sharply, resulting in a spawning biomass value (283.3 million pounds) that fell below the MSST (460.8 million pounds) and hence precipitated a severe curtailment of the fishery in the 2000 season. On September 24, 1999, NOAA Fisheries informed the Council that this stock was declared "overfished" pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act guidelines, which requires a rebuilding plan to be developed within one year. This Environmental Assessment (EA) addresses alternatives for rebuilding the overfished stock of snow crab in the Eastern Bering Sea. Alternatives and options were developed by the Council at their October 1999 meeting and revised at the April 2000 meeting